UK Online Advertising Overtakes Direct Mail with 15% Ad Spend Share

October 11, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Europe & Middle East | Financial Services | Local & Directories / Small Biz | Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce | Telecom

Internet advertising has again buoyed the UK advertising industry with above-expectation 41.3% year-on-year growth in the first half of 2007, achieving a half-year high of £1,334.3 million – compared with £917.2 million a year ago – and lifting online advertising’s market share to 14.7%; accordingly, online has overtaken direct mail, which has a market share of 11.8%, according to recently released data.

The results of the biannual internet advertising spend study commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau – UK (IAB), in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the World Advertising Research Centre (WARC), point to online advertising expenditure reaching a potential new high of £2.75 billion by the end of 2007.

The total UK advertising market grew 3.1% during the first half of the year to £9.1 billion; however, without online’s contribution, UK media expenditure would have fallen 1.9% (or £147 million), IAB UK said.

The following are among the findings of the IAB/PwC/WARC report:
All major online ad formats surpass expectations

  • Classified advertising is the latest online success story, growing 72% year on year to £277.7 million with a share of 20.8% of all internet advertising spend. Online classifieds in the recruitment, automotive and property sectors are shaking up the print industry, with marketing budgets switching at a steady rate in response to the demands of the internet user.
  • Internet display advertising (including banners, skyscrapers and rich media formats) climbed 33% to £287 million and a share of 21.5%. Nine out of ten online households in the UK are now on broadband, and marketers in all sectors are targeting consumers with increasingly creative rich media and video advertisements.
  • Paid search was 44% up year on year to £762.3 million – a share of 57.1% of the online total. Growth is attributed to at least half of all ecommerce transactions (£32 billion in 2006) starting with a search. In July 2007 internet users carried out 1.4 billion search queries and over 80% of these resulted in a click through to a website.

Major categories up; automotive is star performer

  • The top five categories remain the same as in 2006 but automotive has overtaken finance with a 12.5% share and is very much the star performer.
  • Recruitment leads with 24.7% of share up 5.3 points with finance down 3.9 points to 11.7%.
  • Consumer goods made steady progress, increasing 0.7 points to 5.3%, while retail remained static at around 3.1% of all online advertising spend.
  • The share of the business and industrial category more than doubled to 3.1%, while telecoms also performed well – up two points to 6.7%.
  • Property continued its growth, achieving a share of 5.7%, up 1.4 points year on year.

Key drivers for growth

  • Broadband: Broadband is now an everyday utility with 52% of all adults in Great Britain connected at home, an increase from 13% of all adults with broadband just three years ago (NOP FRI Survey December 2006 and December 2003). With 90% of home internet users now accessing via broadband, up 6 points year on year, and 38% of the online population having used a wireless connection at home in the past month, advertisers are able to deliver far more creative and engaging communications to a mass audience.
  • Online evolution: Ofcom research reveals that average daily web use rose by 158% over the past four years; the over-50s account for nearly 30% of time spent online; and women in the critical 25-34 age group spend on average 20% more time on the net than their male counterparts. This is all great news for advertisers as the medium hurtles toward £2.75bn by the end of the year.
  • Social networking websites: While not a major driver of online advertising expenditure, social networking sites generate higher consumer demand for fast broadband, increasing time spent online and boosting overall consumer confidence in the online experience. This is likely to increase advertiser interest in the medium and lead to a continued growth in advertising expenditure for years to come.
  • Measurement and web analytics: As tools for measuring the efficacy of online, such as engagement and brand-building, become more sophisticated and robust the sector is fast becoming more accountable, transparent and measurable than traditional advertising sectors.
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